Now Entering Sun Valley – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Welcome to the Family – | Review Score – 3/5
Proceed with Caution – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Keep Pinecrest Wild – | Review Score – 3/5
Two for $40 – | Review Score – 3/5
Have a Nice Day! – | Review Score – 3.5/5
Healing Times May Vary – | Review Score – 4/5
Hell Is Real – | Review Score – 3/5
#1 Mum – | Review Score – 3/5
Kiss and Cry – | Review Score – 3.5/5
I love sport dramas. Moneyball is one of my favourite films, the Rocky series is obviously a main-stay while I, Tonya and Blades Of Glory are arguably the more prolific ice skating options in this genre. When Netflix announced the 10-episode figure-skating series Spinning Out, the premise was an intriguing one and felt like a blend of Black Swan and gritty sport drama. In reality, Spinning Out is 20% sport drama and 80% soap opera, with love triangles, secrets from the past and all the usual tropes you’d expect in this genre popping up and overpowering the more enjoyable ice-action.
At the heart of this soapy story is talented skater Kat Baker. After taking a nasty knock and having her confidence shaken to its foundations, Kat is forced to face the bitter truth – her singles career is over. Instead, she happens upon a new opportunity, involving a team up with ex-flame Justin for a doubles competition. With their coach Dasha overseeing proceedings, they prepare to qualify for the Regionals and on to championship glory beyond.
Off the ice however, things are far more complicated. Kat finds herself in a love triangle between Marcus and Justin, while her best friend Jenn finds herself in her own love triangle that appears near the halfway point of the season. On top of that there’s drama with Kat’s mum Carol who has mental health issues, Serena’s coach Mitch and even Justin’s parents too. Almost every character has some sort of drama this season, including Jenn’s doctor who makes a late charge for relevance in the story.
In a way, Spinning Out is a tale of two sides. When it focuses on the sport drama on the ice and channels this character drama into some emotional and well-choreographed dances then the season is at its strongest and shows off just how good this show can be. At the other extreme, Spinning Out is almost comically melodramatic, with a series of unfortunate events piling up to unbelievable levels and smashing through a whole series of issues that are almost hurriedly resolved by the end of the show.
Thematically at least, Spinning Out has a good amount of awareness to pepper in a consistent message throughout the season that helps tie everything together. Mental health is a massive issue right now and aside from a couple of on-the-nose statements toward the end where characters outright mention it, there’s a good amount of commentary here about bipolar disease, anxiety and depression that works so well against the pressure of the ice-skating setting. I just wish there was a bit more emphasis on the skating to really show this off properly.
Aesthetically, Spinning Out looks great. The snow-peaked mountains, twinkling Christmas lights and slick camera work give a good dynamic to the show and the unique setting really helps this skating series come alive. There’s some great flashback segments here too, with each episode honing in on a different character and gravitating the drama around them. It’s a nice touch and one that justifies the 10 episodes on offer.
Spinning Out isn’t perfect but it is a decent enough drama to watch. It’s not a particularly memorable or outstanding show, despite its welcome commentary on mental health, but it’s enjoyable enough to see through to its conclusion. The action on the ice is where the show is at its strongest and frustratingly this feels a little too scarce, with several episodes devoted entirely to soapy character drama. Two episodes in particular don’t even mention anything to do with competitions or feature the ice rink at all.
With the trademark Netflix cliffhanger at the end, Spinning Out may return for a second season but whether the viewing figures will justify that or not remains to be seen. It’s not the worst drama of the year, but it’s likely to be overshadowed pretty quickly by some of the heavy hitters of 2020. For now though, Spinning Out is a good enough drama to watch but next to so many other soap operas of its kind, Spinning Out quickly spirals down to mediocrity.
|Spinning Out is available to watch on Netflix. Feel free to click here and sign up now to check this show out!|